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Dramatic Irony In J.B.Priestley’s Plays Essay

In this essay I am going to write about how J.B.Priestely used dramatic irony and entrances and exits to create dramatic tension. I will tell you what dramatic irony is and how it is used in the story ‘An Inspector Calls’. In addition how Priestley uses entrances and exits to create tension as well. The play is set in 1912 but actually written in 1945, which created more dramatic irony because the audience knew what had already happened in real life.

Priestley uses stage directions to create tension in the play and suspense, this quote supports my point ‘we hear a sharp ring of the door bell. Birling stops to listen’. This creates tension because it show’s people thoughts and facial expressions are shown. The fact that it is staged in one room creates more tension and it also makes everything tight and tense. It is also really good that everyone comes and goes out at really tense points.

Before the inspector arrives the family are celebrating the engagement of Shelia Birling to Gerald Croft. There is a happy and jolly mood in the house. Mr.Birling’s Speeches have a lot of irony in them. Dramatic Irony is when the audience know what is going on but the actors on stage don’t know. For example when Mr.Birling talks about the Titanic being unsinkable ‘New York in 5 days-and every luxury-and Unsinkable’ because Priestley wrote this in 1945 but set it in 1912 the audience already know that the titanic sunk’.

When the door bell rang Mr. Birling stops to listen and then just carries on what he was talking about. The doorbell rings at a really calm moment not a lot has happened so far in the play. Birling has given some dramatic speeches talking about war and how it will never happen. The doorbell goes and the inspector doesn’t come straight in it takes a bit for him to come in; Priestley is creating more tension here by slowing things down. Priestley describes the Inspector; he builds the Inspector up and makes him sound really tough and hard to crack.


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